BY DESIGN: An interdisciplinary Conference on issues of Design Education, Business and Material Culture
The Design Exchange, (DX) Canada's only museum of post-1945 design will host a conference from 12-15 October 2005 exploring the life-course of designed objects and environments, including buildings, interiors and constructed landscapes. Interested in issues of design education, theories of 'good design' as smart business strategy and the status of the designed object in public culture and the academy, this conference has been conceived of as three distinct, but interrelated and interdependent streams. Intended to encourage dialogue about design culture, this conference acknowledges Peter Dormer's observation that as a social phenomenon what is called “design” is both a product of western liberal capitalism and dependant upon it, and that the meaning of design is determined both in the marketplace and the museum. Accordingly, the DX invites designers, design educators from across disciplines, business leaders, museum and heritage professionals, scholars, collectors and interested observers to submit paper and presentation proposals that address the critical issues of the conference and which seek to explore the relationships between the theory, practice and place of design in society, both present and past.
Conference Stream I
'In a Class by itself': The States of Design Education
Concerned with the vital role and pedagogical challenges of design education, this dimension of the conference requests papers that investigate both the theories of design education - at the high school, college and university level - and the relationships between design education and contemporary practice. Interested as much with the rationale, development and implementation of design education as with the more philosophical questions of whether or not design talent can be taught, papers are requested that address issues relating to the social, cultural and economic implications of design education in contemporary society.
Conference Stream II
'Selling Style': The Good Business of Design
Acknowledging that the variable of “good design” has historically proven beneficial to investors and pleasing to consumers, this conference stream welcomes papers and formal presentations from across design disciplines that explore issues of the design process, production strategies, aesthetics and popular taste, marketing practice and the history and culture of consumption. Concerned with the relationships between producers, clients, patrons and consumers that define capitalist exchange, this conference stream is as much interested in discussions about the decisions that designers and manufacturers make in order to get a “product” to market, as with the experiences of the people who buy and live with design in its many forms.
Conference Stream III
'Shelf Life' or from Product to Piece: The Evolving Status of the Designed Object and the Preservation of the Built Environment
Holding that all objects and environments have a life cycle - from inception to production, use to disuse and beyond - this third and final section of the conference will explore the status of the historical and contemporary “designed” object and environment in the museum, the landscape, private collections and scholarly discourse. Interested in the rationales, objectives and passions that govern the institutional and private collecting of design and the ways that history, art history and other academic disciplines have made sense of the twentieth century phenomena of design culture, the DX seeks papers and presentations that examine such broad, but related issues as design and collective memory, the meanings of aesthetic elitism, class identity and connoisseurship and collecting as social narrative.
All proposals are due by 1 March 2005, whether as email attachments or as hard copy. Proposals sent electronically should be formatted as MS Word or PDF format and should not exceed 300 words in length. The DX encourages a variety of submissions, including academic papers, case studies and workshops as well as alternative formats. The use of visual material is welcomed. Individuals submitting proposals are requested to state clearly which conference stream they believe their proposal best fits (acknowledging the overlap of themes) and provide a brief resume, including contact information. The conference will be structured around concurrent, thematically specific panels of multiple presenters. The panels will be moderated, with each presenter being allotted twenty minutes. Discussion will follow. It is requested that a detailed précis of the paper or presentation, if not a completed copy, be made available to the moderator no later than 12 September 2005. Following the conference, it is planned that selected papers will be published.
For more information about the conference, please visit the web address shown below.
Please send any questions and proposals to the following e-mail address. Alternatively, please mail proposals to:
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